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to ruling for life. pope benedict spent his last night in the papal vatican as the clock ticks down to his historic resignation. he'll step down after meeting with cardinals around the world and saying one last good-bye to followers. he gave an emotional farewell to 150,000 people in st. peters square yesterday. >> it did mean a lot, and to see the affection of the people the appreciation of the crowd, it was -- it was touching. >> reporter: later today the pope will take a ten-minute helicopter ride to castel gandolfo, the pope's summer retreat on the outskirts of rome. >> he'll spend a couple months there until there's a new pope and things are ready. he'll be basically spending a life of prayer in a convent on the vatican grounds. >> reporter: most of the 115 cardinals who will elect pope benedict's successor are already here in rome and speculation is spreading fast about who will replace him. >> i think it's going to be from africa or latin america. >> what matters most is that it's something who can dwight the church into the future. >> reporter: pope benedict
the vatican. pope benedict xvi says he will resign at the end of the month. these are live pictures right now from the vatican. benedict is the first pontiff to step down in nearly 600 years. kpix 5 reporter cate caugiran is tracking this morning's developments. pretty shocking, cate. >> reporter: that's right, frank and michelle. the decision will mean the catholic church will be without a pope for a period of time until the cardinals can select a new successor. and vatican aides admit this decision took them by surprise. pope benedict spoke to a meeting of cardinals this morning and announced he is resigning his position as head of the catholic church effective at the end of the month. the 85-year-old leaders says he is too weak to continue. joseph ratzinger came pope when cardinals chose him to succeed pope john paul
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